Greetings Caniacs! Well yesterday was the first day that the Carolina Hurricanes prospects hit the ice. The on ice work outs took place at the recently renovated Raleigh Ice Center. I arrived about 20 minutes before the workouts started and there were already a few dozen Caniacs in the bleachers, eagerly anticipating seeing the Carolina Hurricanes prospects hit the ice. As the Ice Center staff was finishing the preparations on the ice, I could see several of the prospects anxiously waiting to hit the ice. I can only imagine what some of the players were thinking while they were waiting to officially start on ice workouts. For some, they were about to begin a career that began as a child on the ponds of Maple Ontario. For others, they were getting invited for a chance to prove that they deserve to have an opportunity to play in the National Hockey League.
As the Hurricanes prospects hit the ice, I couldn’t help but direct my attention to Phil Di Giuseppe. The current Michigan Wolverine was the Carolina Hurricanes first draft pick in the second round. As Di Giuseppe will take his talents back to Ann Arbor this fall one thing is for sure, he has the opportunity to continue to learn and play the game of hockey under coaching legend Red Berenson. Being under Coach Berenson will only help to enhance his game and prepare him for a career in the NHL.
Another pleasant surprise was seeing 6’3 210 lb Jeremy Welsh. Some will remember when Jeremy signed with the Canes, yet others would prefer to forget since it was at the end of last year and our Canes were closing the door in Florida on a disappointing season. Welsh is no stranger to scoring goals, while he lead the Union Dutchmen to their first frozen four appearance. He also netted 27 goals and 17 assists in 40 games.
Not only are the players learning on the ice but they are also getting seminars on motivational techniques, media training and nutrition. Although a majority of the prospects will continue to develop their game elsewhere for the time being, that is not the case for the Hurricanes coaching staff that is mentoring these future Canes during the conditioning camp. For Rod Brind’Amour, Glen Wesley and Cory Stillman their season is only beginning because we are less than 100 days before Hurricanes Hockey. There are still a couple of days that you can catch these young prospects in action so grab your car keys, hop on your scooter or call a cab and head on down to the Raleigh Ice Center to see for yourself why, for some of these young players, the future looks bright.